Written by Ma. Christine de Vera
In a collaborative effort, Recreational Outdoor eXchange (ROX) Philippines and ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) delivered Basic Mountaineering Courses and Wilderness First Aid Training to its partner communities in Samar and Leyte. This initiative is part of the Foundation’s ongoing efforts under the ‘Passport Project,’ which aims to prepare and promote ecotourism sites operated by said partner communities.
The training was held last December 5 to 7 at Lanawan Nature Farm, spearheaded by Emmanuel Batungbacal, ROX Outdoor Consultant. Joined by Bricx Martillo Dumas and Glenn Marvin Mallari, ROX facilitated discussions on topics such as camp management, equipment care and maintenance, and the different parts of tents and backpacks.
The following partner communities attended this capacity building training: Sohoton Service Cooperative, San Vicente Farmers Association, Lanawan Farmers Association, Kagbana Upland Farmers Association, Mahagnao Farmers Association, Tenani Women Association for Development (TAWAD), Tour Guides and Boat Operators for River Protection and Environmental Development Organization (TORPEDO), and Barobaybay Mangrove and Marine Conservationist Association (BMMCA).
During the 3-day training, the participants also learned about the fundamentals of Wilderness First Aid. Roy Albert Resurrection, M.D., representing the ROX Outdoor team, emphasized the crucial role of self-preservation of tour guides, particularly when navigating the hazardous terrains like mountains and rivers, where dangers can arise from natural structures and wildlife. “By prioritizing our safety, we can earn the trust of our guests and provide effective assistance to those who may require medical attention,” Resurrection expressed.
ROX has been a long-standing partner of the ABS-CBN Foundation in capacitating communities to boost ecotourism. Among the outdoor superstore’s engagements with the Foundation was a donation of bikes for its Leyte communities last year. Notably, members of these Leyte communities were present during the training.
“We are grateful to ROX and ABS-CBN Foundation for designing this training that not only includes discussion but also hands-on experience in setting up tents and applying basic first aid. This approach made it easier for me to understand and remember the lessons for a long period,” Marlyn M. Quebec, Paranas Ecotrail and Birding Site Representative shared.
In reaching new peaks of empowerment, ABS-CBN Foundation and ROX Philippines conclude what is hopefully just the beginning of more collaborative capacity development efforts. It’s partnerships like these that reinforce the commitment of Earth Warriors in Samar, Leyte, and across the Philippines as a whole, to responsible and sustainable tourism.